Johnson City Medical Center | News Article

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Mountain States/JCMC group volunteers each month to feed 200-plus at Melting Pot

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. –  A group of Johnson City Medical Center team members has been donating its time to help The Melting Pot, a downtown soup kitchen, with a meal once a month. They’ve come together to prepare and help serve lunch for 200-plus people at The Melting Pot each of the last five months.

Members from the JCMC pharmacy, pastoral care, patient experience, VOS (value optimization system) and other departments first came together in the spring to volunteer their time preparing one meal, and it's grown from there to become a regular event. More than 20 team members have participated so far.

“It’s a great opportunity to get involved and give back to the community," said Casey Wilbert, pharmacy clinical coordinator at JCMC, who is one of the volunteer group organizers. “We did this once and the team was hooked! We decided we wanted to do it on a consistent basis, so now we’re doing it the fourth Wednesday of each month.”

“It’s a good experience, a very humbling experience,” said Kathy Taylor, department secretary for pharmacy services at JCMC. “It’s something simple but it helps others in their time of need.”

It's also a great team-building opportunity for the JCMC volunteers, who get to know each other better through this experience outside the work environment -- while giving back to their community.

The food is usually prepared beforehand and brought to the pharmacy conference room at JCMC before being transported to the soup kitchen, Wilbert said. If there is prep to be done at The Melting Pot, a group will head there about 10 a.m. Servers should be there around 11:10 a.m. as food service starts at 11:20 a.m. Each meal is plated and then each plate is taken to the dining area and served to someone, rather than having it set up as a buffet line. The group is typically back to JCMC by 12:15 p.m.

Anyone who wants to volunteer is encouraged to join.

“We can always use help with provisions, cooking food or even donating funds for the meal,” Taylor said. “Some people just donate money. The logistical challenge is how to prepare that much food and get it there and serve it to 200-plus people, while everybody still has their job to keep up with at Mountain States.”

The group’s latest meal at the end of September was a spaghetti meal. For August they made sandwiches served with bags of chips. For October, the group is considering doing baked potatoes and chili.

“We’ve had lot of people tell us how grateful they are,” Taylor said, “and say ‘thank you for serving us.’ One lady who lived alone and wasn’t able to do much cooking for herself said, “I can’t tell you the last time I had spaghetti. This is so nice.’ It’s those kinds of things that are very inspiring and keep us going.”

For more information about joining the group, contact Taylor at kathy.taylor@msha.com.